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Top Level Boondoggle
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Wed Jun 22, 2011 Link to this message
Top Level Boondoggle
Earlier this week in Singapore, the ICANN, that top-level governing body of internet names, brought forth a stinker of a plan.
On the surface, it seemed like an interesting idea: up until now, all websites ended with one of a handful of endings—called Top Level Domains, or TLDs—with which we're familiar:
The ICANN reasonably concluded that, while opening the ranks of TLDs is doable, joining the ranks of TLD registrars is best left only to those with a serious commitment, plus the financial and technical wherewithal to oversee the registration of what may likely be billions of domain names. The upshot being that one obstacle to membership into the exclusive world of your own TLD is to pay the ICANN a princely sum of ... wait for it ... $185,000. One hundred eighty-five thousand dollars.
The presented rationale for the go-ahead was to open up the internet for ideas yet to be conceived (of which they seemed to have conceived of a few.)
One cited example was given as thus: suppose Canon registered, say
Imagine that: give a camera to granny, and you could automatically see her pictures at
Specifically, third level domains are already under the complete control of the domain name owner, and while under-exploited (with the exception of that trite obsolescence
Or for a stronger brand presence (and avoiding the tussle to get the more generic domain) Canon might instead decide to post pictures to
Without forking over a chunk of change.
In this respect, I have to agree with a previous president of ICANN: they're not really adding any new capabilities, short of stripping off four or so characters from domain names. It's a solution in search of a problem.
My take is that there will be an initial rush to claim some vanity TLDs (and why do I suspect that
Now one possible real benefit of this new decision is that the new TLDs don't need to be in "white man's ASCII" anymore; the TLDs can theoretically be any characters in any language. Where I'm guessing we'll see the most traction is in governments (and/or private parties) applying for native-language domain names. I suspect the netizens of China will see hanyu domains under the TLD .中国 very soon.
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